Liberation: Digital products renew the customer journey

Over the decades, the range of digital financial solutions offered by established banks has often morphed into a confusing array of products. While banks are required to offer customers a stringent product range, they also have to provide them with equally simple and attractive digital and mobile banking services that are accessed via attractive user interfaces. Indeed, the pressure from the market is particularly high at present.

Not seeing the forest for the trees or being spoilt for choice: Consumers often perceive a variety of options not as an opportunity but as a burden. Ultimately, they themselves are called upon to compare the pros and cons, to decide on one option and thus at the same time exclude a large number of other offers that could be equally as attractive. Particularly in current times, where consumers are dependent on doing as much as possible digitally from home, simplification is a top priority. In the past, the breadth of an offer often did not result from the desire to offer the customer a wide variety of services, but rather from the false desire to offer as many services as possible without critically examining their relevance or value.

Complex structures and products

This lack of clarity can be traced back to too many systems and apps for digital offerings that have been borne out of numerous independent projects and initiatives over the years – many seen as “quick wins” – that are not synchronized with each other.  . The merger report of Commerzbank and comdirect documents the extent of the challenges on the one hand, and the potential for synergy effects on the other. The banks are pursuing a mobile-first approach: “Through the steady expansion of self-service offerings, the mobile app enables customers to use it easily, provides easy access to banking products and is increasingly becoming the first point of contact for customer concerns,” so says page 44 of the report.

Digital and mobile banking call for simplification

Digital and mobile banking makes many things easier, if you do it right, even financial transactions in the age of coronavirus. In this regard, financial institutions on both sides of the Atlantic are encouraging their customers to make life easier for themselves (and the banks) by doing business online. Asked whether the crisis is making Germans more digital, N26 founder Valentin Stalf answered a few days ago: “Due to the crisis, many people are trying out digital offers. […] Older people in particular are becoming aware of the advantages of online trading, which they will certainly not want to do without once the crisis passes. While the customers of Challenger-Bank were on average in their mid-20s when they entered the market, they are now in their early 30s. The days of lengthy explanations in bank branches of complicated business products seem to be definitely numbered.”

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